Client Spotlight: Graham Personnel Services

How do BITS customers really feel about the job we do for them? We’re sure that almost every business asks itself a variation of the same question. After all, being successful is all about maintaining relationships.

Here, at BITS, we really wanted to know the answer. So, we decided to take the radical step of, you know, actually talking to our clients about how our services impact them.

Inaugural Client Spotlight

This month, we had the pleasure of speaking with Dace Hennessee, General Manager of Graham Personnel Services. Dace was extremely welcoming and forthcoming about his company’s reliance on the IT expertise provided by BITS.

So, what stands out about BITS services to Dace?

“Beacon is a local company. Graham Personnel is a local company. I think that’s a good match. We like to support locally owned Triad companies.”

That answer is more than just a preference for doing business with a neighbor, however. It’s about quality and reliability. And, knowing that if the owner’s computer is experiencing an issue, it will be fixed as fast as humanly possible. (In this case, we did our thing and it was back to normal within the hour.)

In managed IT services, the speed with which a glitch is resolved can mean a difference of thousands of dollars. After all, if his computers are down, Dace isn’t placing too many people on work assignments.

And that can be a major concern if, let’s say, you’re moving your entire operation to a new location.

“The Move” 

One of the biggest projects BITS managed for Graham Personnel Services was transitioning the company’s IT infrastructure to new offices on Gallimore Diary Road. In addition to it’s 30+ employees, GPS also houses multiple classrooms with dozens of computer stations where applicants are screened for various skills.

“Two years ago, we switched everything from one location to another location. I think we were down for 30 minutes,” says Dace. “We were up and functional by 8:30 [a.m.]”

The BITS team handled all the planning, logistics and execution for the job, seamlessly transitioning employee work stations, classroom computers, company servers and presentation equipment to their new homes.

“A lot of that was planning. It was getting involved early,” observes Kevin Lackey, BITS Account Executive who was involved in the project. “Having that vision on the front side, knowing what the expectation was, and being involved so early really helped us. Because we knew: this is what he’s asking.”

What Else Does BITS do for GPS?

In addition to helping with the occasional monumental move, BITS provides all end-user support for GPS’ employee work stations. In plain language, we are Graham Personnel’s external IT team. Everything from managing software updates to helping recover lost passwords is managed by the BITS help desk.

We also help Dace keep an eye on equipment performance, recommending updates when necessary and managing the procurement process.

Last, but definitely not least, BITS also manages firewall and backup functions for the GPS website, keeping digital assets secure and functioning at 100%.

About Graham Personnel Services

Graham Personnel Services has a 50-year history of successfully placing job seekers in the Triad area with businesses, large or small, in the distribution, manufacturing, professional and healthcare sectors. Over the years, the company has developed expertise and earned recognition in helping Fortune 500 companies and small businesses in Greensboro and the surrounding communities fulfill their staffing needs.

During any given week, there are anywhere between 700 and 1,200 associates placed on assignments with Graham Personnel clients. The firm takes pride in its commitment to customer satisfaction and strives to be the local leader in recruiting.

Client Profile

Name: Graham Personnel Services

Size: 30+ employees

Industry: Staffing

Location: Greensboro, NC

BITS Services: end-user support (managed IT), firewall, backup

By | 2019-06-26T07:46:42+00:00 June 25th, 2019|System Administration, Computer Related, IT Services|

Is Your Business Ready for Hurricane Season?

Don’t look now, but hurricane season is once again bearing down upon us. Last year was predicted to be a below-average season. Instead, the Atlantic Ocean spit out 15 named storms, including eight hurricanes.

The damage sustained from 2018 tropical storms – which included, not one, but two major hurricanes (Florence and Michael) – reached nearly $50 billion. Power outages, dangerous winds, heavy rains, flooding and other hazards wreaked havoc on homes and businesses in many parts of the US.

There’s no telling what this season will bring. But, while you can’t predict when, or if, a major storm will strike, smart businesses plan for these types of disasters to ensure that they can survive and bounce back as quickly as possible.

One of the key requirements of a good business continuity plan is protecting your business data and network. To give your business the best chance of surviving a natural disaster, you need to consider your data backup, data recovery and infrastructure access needs.

Let’s talk about all three in a bit more detail.

Data Backup and Storage

Redundancy is a major theme in data protection. Putting in place a system that routinely saves your enterprise-wide data protects your business in case an unexpected event destroys your existing, on-site IT infrastructure. It also makes retrieving mistakenly-deleted files very easy.

In choosing a data backup solution, you’ll need to think about the following:

Data protection goals

How often does your data need to be backed up, and to what degree? There are several types of backup setups, including full backup, incremental backup and differential backup, and each has benefits and drawbacks.

Scalability

Optimally, you’ll need a data backup solution that can grow with your business.

Storage

Cloud storage solutions allow your data to stay protected in case something happens to your physical IT infrastructure – a key benefit if your businesses is flooded by a hurricane storm surge. Of course, legal or other constraints require other businesses to have their data backups on site. Many businesses rely on a hybrid on-site/cloud storage solution, giving them the best of both worlds.

Disaster Recovery

A good disaster recovery plan and solutions will help your business minimize or prevent downtime in case the worst does happen. A key step in setting up your backup recovery system is determining the appropriate recovery time objective (RTO) and recovery point objective (RPO).

Simply put, RTO defines how quickly your business network and applications need to be back online after a sudden disruption. Some types of businesses – hospitals, for example – have an RTO of 0. They cannot afford to be down for even one second. Most other types of business have less stringent RTO constraints.

RPO is the threshold for how old your recovered data can be. How great is the disruption to your business if you lose the last hour of your operational data? Two hours? A day?

Effectively, RPO defines how often your data should be backed up, and sets the data loss tolerance.

IT Infrastructure Access 

If your business does succumb to a natural disaster, like a hurricane, a good business continuity plan will allow you to get your network back up before you even rummage through the rubble.

How easily can your team access the needed backup data? Does it need to do so remotely, from any device? These are key considerations in choosing the right solution for your business.

A well-designed disaster recovery solution will have your servers virtualized in the cloud and ready for you and your team to resume operations in no time.

Beacon Knows Affordable Small Business Solutions

It doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg to make sure that your business network is protected in case a natural disaster strikes. At Beacon, we partner with Datto, a leading provider of IT services, to implement robust and affordable disaster recovery solutions on behalf of our customers.

Get in touch with our team to learn more about ALTO, Datto’s platform designed to provide total data protection and enterprise-level functionality specifically to small businesses.

By | 2019-04-30T05:45:37+00:00 April 24th, 2019|IT Services|

Managed IT Services

Disaster Response Time

If you’ve ever been in the unfavorable position of seeing your business IT infrastructure compromised, you understand the necessity of an expedient response from your IT vendor. If you haven’t, thank goodness. Unfortunately, the rise in the number of successful web-based attacks increases the odds of you facing this situation sometime in the future.

Successful businesses protect themselves against known risks. So, how do you best prepare for the eventuality of your company network being attacked? Another way to ask this questions is: What are the elements of a good disaster preparedness plan that ensure the fastest response time?

At Beacon, we hang our hat on two essential elements when working with clients to secure their IT infrastructure: experienced live technicians, and a properly-configured remote tool kit.

Live Technicians Make All the Difference

It’s natural and easy to become reliant on technology. Humans have done this at every stage of our evolution. An appropriate present day example is the societal discussion taking place around automation. It’s true – robots and artificial intelligence may very well be the components that someday revolutionize the workplace.

But, even the smartest tech leaders of the most forward-looking companies are re-learning the value of human capital. As Elon Musk, the CEO of the upstart carmaker Tesla, recently acknowledged, there is such a thing as over-automation. It turns out that the key to ramping up the production of Tesla’s highly-anticipated Model 3 is not more robots, but more people.

We’ve always placed a high value on highly personal customer service. In fact, the calling card of Beacon’s IT services is the ability of clients to receive live assistance immediately.

If you’re faced with a cyber attack that took down your network, you don’t want to be reduced to leaving voice mails to your IT vendor. Or worse, relying on a corrupted or compromised network to figure out what’s what. You want to be speaking with a real expert right away, not three hours from now. It is this step that’s going to be the difference between restoring your network in minutes, rather than days.

Remote Tools Help Your Network Recover Quickly

Hopefully, your firewall solution is good enough to keep out any unsavory characters. But, if we’ve learned anything about IT security in the last few years, it’s that breaches can – and do – happen despite the most robust security setups.

If your defenses have been penetrated, what helps you get your systems back online the fastest is a responsive data backup system (that you had the foresight to install prior to the attack). There are two setups that yield the best results: local virtualization and cloud backup. Both can get you back online within hours, if not minutes.

Local virtualization relies upon an on-site device that’s connected to your network. In case of a breach, the device is automatically quarantined. It is then used to restore access to your data by transferring the data to a “clean” server, or by acting as a server itself.

The second method is similar to the first. The difference is in the way the backed up data is stored and accessed. In local virtualization, the backup data can be accessed locally, on the backup device.

With the cloud backup, your data is sent to the cloud at selected time intervals – could be as often as once an hour. The task can be scheduled for non-business hours or overnight, so it does not interrupt normal business operations. If the need arises, you can access the saved data from a cloud portal – a secure, dedicated web page. In this manner, you’re able to restore individual files; or, in a disaster recovery scenario, activate servers in the cloud to replicate the compromised servers on site. In some scenarios, cloud servers can even be set up to mimic the function of your on-site servers, allowing authorized users to access the data the way they normally would.

Is Your Network Protected From Today Exploits? 

If you’re not sure, give BITS a call at 336.546.6660. We’ll be happy to talk to you about your IT security concerns. Our team is experienced in crafting customized solutions for the most stringent requirements.

By | 2018-05-15T11:49:08+00:00 May 15th, 2018|BITS Team, IT Services|